“In 2008 Alliant Energy Company brought Chris Gibbons, the guru of Economic Gardening to Madison, WI as part of an ongoing series on local Economic Development. At the time I had just left a career in banking to start consulting for businesses and Economic Development Organizations. My partner Sue Gleason, was still working for Thrive, an eight county Economic Development Region located in overwhelmingly rural South Central Wisconsin.”
There were a number of things that really rang true for me in that eight hour session:
- the importance of growing local businesses rather than traditional retention and recruitment
- the availability of tools for businesses that had been unavailable in the recent past
- the data showing that even though we all knew jobs were created by small businesses, we now know that net jobs are created by small businesses with certain characteristics
- the importance of supporting local entrepreneurs.